Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Jazz

I played at the Porter House Steak House in Norwood, NJ the other night. I play there a lot, and as it is close to Christmas I played a lot of Christmas music. One of the things that I realized about Christmas music, is that when you buy a Christmas songbook, often the chords and arrangements are not what you expected. Or perhaps I just don't pay enough attention to the books I buy, but this one songbook was predominately a jazz book of Christmas songs. Now I have nothing against jazz, I just don't play much of it. The problem that I have with Jazz is that it's a lot like talking to people who don't know how to edit themselves, or take pauses in conversation so you can get a word in edgewise. I find that when two chords will work just fine, the average jazz songbook will throw in seven.

I feel that I am a very utilitarian player, I like to minimize what I am playing on the piano so I can focus on the vocal. Or sometimes I like to minimize the chords so I can focus on the fills that I want to add to spice up the chord. So when I buy these songbooks that are very elaborate on the chords it annoys me. The other thing that gets on my nerves is that there are so many renditions of Christmas songs out there that it's hard to find very simple versions in the song books.

I have decided that the solution is for me to sit down and chart out all of the Christmas songs that I like to do and make my own book. That's pretty much what I do with most of my other music, but I have never taken the time to do it with Christmas songs.

I think to begin I need to figure out what songs everyone likes to hear at Christmas time. So if anyone out there has any favorites, I'd love to hear them as I work on my Christmas song book.

God bless,


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